Christian Radio

This blog has been established to talk about Christian Radio (the industry) and to encourage those who are working in the industry. I would like to talk about news, music, programs and whatever else comes up. My goal is to get listeners and the professionals to talk about the issues to help make the ministry even better and stronger. Tell all you know about this blog.

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Location: Grand Rapids, Michigan, United States

I'm the Executive Director of Mission Network News, a broadcast network servicing more than 900 radio stations in North America, New Zealand, Eucuador, Romania and Moldova

Thursday, June 30, 2005

"Radio World" does Cooke have it right?

Thanks to a friend (Gordon Govier) I was alerted to an article in Radio World. The Headline reads; News Is Better Here On Earth, Research suggests satellite subscribers come back to AM/FM Stations for News, Weather and Traffic, written by Holland Cooke. It's a great article.

Here are some interesting points he made based on some 1,200 + interviews of people 18 +, 50/50 male/female ratio. The top three 'likes' of their AM/FM radio station; Music, Information and It's local.

What did they hate? Number one, was too many blasted commercials. But, then Cooke writes, "Radio's two most injurious self-inflicted wounds post-consolidation were draconian cutbacks in local programming, while we were torturing listeners with intolerable commercial loads." To me that screams…'why are Christian radio stations cutting back on local news all over the country? We would own almost every market if we did it right!"

Here are some other interesting thoughts of his. His research indicates that "The music selection is annoyingly repetitive." They also hated repetitive newscasts. Because some huge companies own almost all of some markets, listeners also hate hearing the same people in a market doing the weather, traffic and news.

Satellite radio users were also asked the question; why do you return to local AM/FM radio? 54-percent said to hear local news, 40-percent said to hear the weather, 38-percent said traffic and 28-percent said to hear a local host or DJ. The article was then summed up with this; "Do the top four things, local news, weather, traffic and local hosts, as well as you possibly can.

Is non-com Christian radio following this example? Are we playing or reading more "underwriter spots", playing the same old 50 to 100 songs, have we dumped or cut back local news in favor of national headlines or nothing at all, and who's covering the weather. If Christian radio stations aren't doing all these things, plus sharing a true Gospel message, why are we doing it at all?

Tuesday, June 28, 2005

A trend in the western world

There has been a trend that is just months away here in the United States. Racial and Religious Tolerence legislation. In Australia, the state of Victoria passed legislation that that makes it illegal to talk negatively about other races or religions. Case in point; two pastors who lecture on how to reach Muslims with the Gospel were convicted of 'vilifying Islam.'

In the United Kingdom, they're considering similar legislation. In fact, second reading was approved last week and is now in committee. Most everyone agrees the bill will be approved and more religious freedom will be eroded in a country with much religious history.

In Canada, similar legislation was approved. Their law in essence makes portions of Scripture 'hate speech' because it condemns homosexuality.

It's obvious that the desire to have peace is only causing more divisiveness in the world. Since pluralism is running rampant around the world and there are no absolutes (in the minds of many) it's opened the door for religious oppression and it's only a matter of time until it hits the US.

Actually, it already has. No more school prayer. Religious symbols are being removed left and right from the public square and Christians are being labeled as extremists and intolerant. What does this mean? It's only a matter of time until the Lord returns. I can hardly wait.

In the mean time, let's be strong and courageous in proclaiming the Gospel.

Wednesday, June 22, 2005

Haven't posted in a while

Well, it's been a few days since I posted anything, so I thought I'd write 'something'.

I wrote a story today about the Muslim vilification case in Victoria, Australia. That's the story about two men who lecture about Islam who were convicted of saying things against Islam. The funny thing is they were only quoting things in the Koran. One such statement says claims jinn (or demons) came to Mohammed making him a Muslim. In court, an attorney for the Islamic Council of Victoria claims the men called Muslims demons.

The law in Australia that they violated was the Racial and Religious Tolerence Act of 2001. Everyone said it would only protect minorities. But, that's not the case. It's been the first attack on Christians. There are two more cases that could go to court as we speak.

A similar law is being proposed in the United Kingdom. I'm guessing it's only a matter of time until it's attempted in the United States.

Oh Lord come quickly.

Sunday, June 19, 2005

I'm wondering something

I have posted something on our news forum this weekend that has me a bit concerned. I get the feeling some Christian broadcasters think they're above it all. The last thing I posted was a long well-thought out opinion of Christian radio. I thought it was worth looking into. But, I received several e-mails complaining about the message. I even had one person suggest that we dismiss this altogether because his comments are in the minority. Why?? I don't get it. Why wouldn't you want to consider all views of something before you dismiss it?

I have a few listeners that I know have agendas. Many times I know what they're after when they call, write or leave message. I think we all have these types of people. But, there are those who call, share their heart, concerns and let me know they're praying for us. Those are the poeple are respect and seriously consider their complaints and comments.

The more I think about Jeremy's comments, the more I wonder if much of Christian radio is on the wrong track, including program producers. I know we're all after more listeners. We need listeners! No question, but as my friend points out, "are we trying to buy listeners" with these big ticket give-aways? And, as Jeremy suggests, are we "encouraging covetousness?"

I really think these are good questions.

Friday, June 17, 2005

I found this blog post...great thoughts

I was made aware of this post by a guy named Jeremy Wise. He's not a broadcaster, just very perceptive. I asked him if I could post this and he said yes. I think it's a interesting view from a Christian, who's viewing Christian radio from the outside. Here's his post…

“Christian” American Idols

I’ve been increasingly amazed, as an avid “Christian Radio” listener, at how worldly things are becoming. As an example, one of my favorite stations, which I’ll not name, has had a contest for the past several weeks to give away a new hot tub. Now this in and of itself isn’t that big a deal. Radio stations all over the country give things away to try and increase listener attentiveness.

So, Jeremy, what’s the tie between that hot tub and idolatry? I’m so glad you asked. I’m stunned at how frequently the tub is mentioned. It’s no longer Christian radio; it’s Hot Tub radio with watered down contemporary Christian music thrown in every now and then. Music break, hot tub advertisement. News, hot tub advertisement. Another song, hot tub advertisement. Radio station on the road… Come share what the Lord’s doing in your life? Nah, just register for the hot tub!

And then there was the caller who said “I hope we win the hot tub! We already have the room built for it; we’re just waiting for the tub now!” My first thought was, “We’ve got our temple built! We just need our god so we can usher him into his temple and we can worship him day and night! We’ll have a great god… better than all the other gods on the street! And people will beg to come over and worship our god with us!” Like the Corinthians all over again.

And another station takes calls from those who have big screen TVs and surround sound, and everyone lusts after one another! “Thou shalt not covet”, right? Yet here’s Christian Radio — “Call and share with us how big your TV god is.. Let’s stir up a craving among our listeners to go get themselves a TV god that’s as big and cool as yours!”

Again, is there anything wrong with having a TV? Certainly not. But Americans worship TVs. I don’t want my radio station to awaken lusts for worldly things, I want my radio station to remind me how our Lord provides all we need. I want my radio station to remind me how faithful my Lord is, day in and day out. I don’t want my appetite for worldly things to be aroused, I want to be reminded that I already have everything I need for life and godliness!

Why are we making such a big deal out of giving away a $3500 hot tub to someone who most likely doesn’t NEED it, when all around us, yes, even in Grand Rapids, people would give their right arm just to have a $0.35 bowl of soup to warm their hands a little! Come on, Christian Radio. Let’s get our focus away from what the world says is wonderful and return it to the God who alone is all we ever need. Need I remind you that this world and its desires are passing away? But praise God, the one who does the will of the Father will live forever. Let’s hear a lot less about American gods, and a lot more about the one living God!

Thursday, June 16, 2005

It's coming to the US

I did an interview with Peter Stokes. He's the Executive Officer of Australia's Salt Shaker ministry. They're a 'watchdog' group, tracking issues effecting Christian in that country.

In 2001 in Victoria, Australia the legislature passed legislation called, 2001 Racial and Religious Tolerance Act. It makes it illegal to vilify any race or religion. In other words, you can't say Muslims and those practicing Witchcraft are bound for hell, that's not nice...it vilifies people...creating hate.

I'm told Australia doesn't have anything like the American's 1st Amendment. Well, this bill passed with only a few groups like Salt Shakers opposing the bill.

Well, their worst fears are coming to reality. Last year two pastors were convicted of religious vilification of Muslims because they were teaching about Islam. They were convicted based on the words they read from the Koran. They're still waiting to find out their punishment under the law.

Then it got worse. A convicted sex offender has taken the Salvation Army to court for vilifying his religion, witchcraft. Obviously the Bible condemns that.

The question I have is; how long is it going to take for the unwise politicians of the United States to come up with similar legislation that will limit God's word. The Bible 'vilifies' many groups of people. The Gospel is offensive. That's its nature to convict people of sin so sinners can come to repentance. I fear it's only a matter of time.

Monday, June 13, 2005

I love my job

Today we had a Mission Network News staff meeting. Even though I hate meetings, I'm finding they're really the only way to communicate with staff...effectively. I used to think that a passing meeting in the hallway was all that was needed, but I'm finding people remember more when you make it official.

But, that's not the reason for this post. We were sitting in our meeting thinking about our past lives as local news writers and we came to the conclusion that we love what we do. We talked a lot about the drive to be the first with the best breaking news story. The 'rush' it gave you to feed network stations with 'the story' of a life time. But, in the end, the question was, "Why did we do that? What was the purpose?"

"Vanity" was the word that came to mind. But, MNN is making an eternal difference in the lives of people. As we encourage people to get involved in ministry either at home or abroad, they're reaching out with God's word -- the gospel. That's why I get up in the morning.

Don't get me wrong, there's a need for local news in Christian radio. In fact, it's a desperate need. But, for me, I'm right where I want to be and right where I need to be. I can hardly wait until I'm in heaven to find out just what an impact MNN has had on people's lives.

Thursday, June 09, 2005

Excited about Christian radio, overseas

As many of you know, Mission Network News is heard on more than 900 radio stations, mostly in the United States and Canada. But, what you may not realize it that MNN is also by people in 29 other countries.

We have two networks that deserve attention today. Little Samaritan owns radio stations in Romania and Moldova. 19 stations in Romania and 13 stations in Moldova. But, this relationship goes even further -- they translate and produce MNN into Romanian and Russia (the language they speak in Moldova). These radio stations are encouraging their friends and neighbors to be more actively involved in missions.

We're currently working through a couple of other partnerships that will allow us to be the voice of missions to two mega languages in the western hemispher and in a part of east Asia. We're excited about the possibilities. I'm almost more excited about our international broadcasts than I am our American broadcasts.

Tuesday, June 07, 2005

Observations from someone listening

1. I've really been enjoying Moody Broadcasting's Prime Time America. A good mix of news, information, etc.
2. Sean Hanity is sounding a lot like Dr. James Dobson these days.
3. Some Christian radio stations sound like they're still in the 1980's.
4. Some Christian music stations don't sound much different than secular stations, why is that?
5. I've been asked by a number of people why I'm not doing local news any more. I've told them I am doing local news. :)
6. Could a Christian radio talk format work today?
7. Radio is still fun and it's not as complicated as it used to be.

That's it. I'll write more of these 'observations' later.

Friday, June 03, 2005

So much for vacation

This really has nothing to do with Christian radio. Actually, it does. How many of you Christian radio people have ever taken a vacation just to forget about work?

That's what I did this week. I took a week off just to be home, fix what was broken, paint what needed to be painted and spruce up the un-spruced. I had planned to play a little golf and fish a little. Did I? NO!!! I spent my entire vacation WORKING. Not only was I doing 'manual labor' (and not liking it), but then I got email and phone calls from my office wanting me to think about work, which I didn't want to think about at all.

All this to say; I took a week off for vacation. Now I need a vacation to recover. Next time I need to plan better.

Thursday, June 02, 2005

Fox is expanding

You've probably noticed I haven't posted much this week. I'm on vacation this week. But, I did run across this article that is pretty encouraging.

At a time in which many radio stations are making cuts in news Fox News is expanding. Here's a story from Radio Ink:

Fox News Radio Launches Five-Minute Newscasts

Fox News Radio this week launched five-minute newscasts. Fox News CEO and Chairman Roger Ailes took part in a ribbon-cutting ceremony to unveil the new studios, which were used for the first newscast.

The five-minute newscast service consists of five minutes at the top of the hour and one minute at the bottom of the hour, with Fox News Alerts as needed as well as live anchored coverage of breaking news.